Future Tech

Techie installed 'user attitude readjustment tool' after getting hammered in a Police station

Tan KW
Publish date: Mon, 17 Jun 2024, 09:06 PM
Tan KW
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Future Tech

Who, Me? Welcome once again, gentle readerfolk, to the corner of The Reg we call Who, Me? where each Monday morning we share a reader-submitted tale of tech support gone not-quite-right.

This week, our hero is "Peter" who worked as "a civilian bod for the local constabulary." In other words, he was helping install computer kit at various police stations. And he was inspired to send in his tale by our recent stories of non-IT tools being employed in IT ways.

Peter’s tale took place in the time before wide-area networking was widespread, At the time, each police station therefore had its own server, plus other necessary kit, all set up in whatever room had some space.

Datacenters these rooms were not. Even server rooms could sneer at these facilities.

Setting up one such rudimentary facility in a converted old house out in a rural area, Peter had someone measure up the room, the hallway leading to it, and of course the door into the room. Satisfied the numbers looked sound, he ordered a rack full of gear and waited for it to be delivered before going on-site to plug it all together.

The measurements turned out to be very exact indeed, with little margin for error. Indeed the hallway leading to the designated "server" room was barely large enough to let the rack through.

Then they reached the door. Peter described his next move as "an exercise in multidimensional geometry" as rotated the rack into position to be shifted into the door - only to discover that the doorway was not quite wide enough.

Removing the door and hinges created enough space to poke some of the rack through the gap, but evidently whoever did the measurements had neglected to consider the height.

The hallway was too narrow to tilt the rack sufficiently to allow it to go through sideways, so it had to go upright. Removing anything removable from the rack still left a solid metal frame that was irreducibly too large to get through the space available.

So Peter came up with a plan that involved a trip to a nearby hardware store to acquire a hammer, chisel, and nails. With those tools to hand he set about dismantling the wooden "stop" at the top of the door frame, creating enough clearance to get the rack through - by millimeters.

Then, of course, he put the doorway back together again.

Once that was done, there was the small matter of who was going to pay for the tools that had been purchased. Quite logically, the boss could not see why an IT team required a hammer and chisel. Nor could he understand why the department should buy a civilian contractor a bunch of woodworking tools.

Eventually, it was agreed the police would pay for the tools, but they would belong to the department. So there they remained: the hammer on display with a sign designating it the "user attitude readjustment tool."

If you've found a novel use for a tool - whether meant for computer use or not - we'd really like to hear about it. Click here to send an email to Who, Me? and we may immortalize your tale on some future Monday. The mailbag's getting a tad sparse, so we could really use some stories. ®



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